Get to Know…Alpha Fire Company

We’re highlighting the amazing departments we insure around the country and all they do for their communities. For this department story we interviewed Alpha Fire Company in State College, PA!

Your Names & Titles: Steven W. Bair, Fire Director/Chief of Department, Centre Region Fire Protection & Jason Troup, Chief, Alpha Fire Company

Department Name: Alpha Fire Company

Department Type: Alpha Fire Company itself is all volunteer. It is the primary component of the Regional Fire Protection Program which is a combination department.

When was your department founded? Alpha Fire Company was founded in 1899 and for the first year of its existence was known as the Union Fire Company. In 1923, Penn State disbanded its campus fire department, and the university members and equipment were absorbed by Alpha. Over time, the Centre Region Council of Governments, which was established in 1969, provided the funding for Alpha and eventually supplemented fire department management with career personnel. Today, the combination department has five career personnel and 96 volunteers.

What community/communities do you support? Alpha Fire Company covers State College Borough; College, Ferguson, and Patton Townships; Benner Independent Township, and the University Park campus of The Pennsylvania State University. Our first due area is 104 square miles with a population of 93,000.

What kinds of incidents does your department commonly deal with? Our department provides a broad range of fire and rescue related services. These include all types of fire suppression, all types of rescue (except water: no boat), fire police services, fire investigation, a HazMat Team certified to Act 165, regional Class B foam response, and regional decon/mass decon response. We also partner with law enforcement for Field Force Extrication and Rescue Task Force (active shooter) responses.

What types of engines do you have? 

We operate from three stations and a special operations center.

State College Borough Station: 2 rescue engines, 100 ft. platform aerial, 3000 gal tanker, heavy rescue, special unit (brush), suppression UTV, traffic control unit, traffic utility, general purpose utility, service unit w/lift gate.

Patton Township Station: 1 rescue engine, 75 ft. platform aerial, 3000 gal tanker, traffic utility, general purpose utility.

College Township Station: 1 rescue engine, 75 ft. quint, fire marshal utility, general purpose utility.

Special Operation Center: HazMat Unit, Decon Trailer, Foam Trailer, Forklift

In addition to station-assigned units, we operate a Command vehicle (Duty Chief), a Fire Police Duty traffic unit, Alpha Fire Chief (Car 5), and Fire Director (Car 55).

What fundraisers or other annual events do you host as a department? We are blessed with a community that provides 97% of our funding needs through local taxes. In each odd-numbered year, we solicit for donations by direct mail. These donations are used for volunteer awards, amenities, and fire station improvements.

How has Provident been able to support your department and its members? Provident has provided our department with insurance coverage for many years. While we have not had many claims, those that we have made were handled expeditiously by Provident. In addition to the insurance, Provident provides mental health support for our volunteers. Our experiences with Provident and their visible interest in our department provides our volunteers peace of mind. They know that they and their families will be assisted should the need arise.

To learn more about the Alpha Fire Company, visit their website and follow their Facebook page here.